As you may or may not have heard, the recent attack on our Christian brothers in Iraq yesterday, where at least 52 Christians where martyred during liturgy celebrations. ( Inc. 10 women, 8 children and 2 Priests) – carried with it a deadly threat by the cowards of Islam against the Coptic Church in Egypt.
Al-Qaeda’s statement reiterated the following “The end will not stop at killing the hostages only. Not only in Iraq, but in Egypt and the Levant and the rest of the countries in the area; there are hundreds of thousands of your people amongst us and hundreds of churches, and all of them will be targets for us if you do not comply.”
It still amazes me how these so called Muslim warriors don’t understand that death to a Christian is a joy and honour. To be martyred for Christ is the greatest privilege any worshipper can receive. St Paul says, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, if we die we die to the lord, therefore whether we live or die we are the Lord’s” Rom 14:8.
Unlike the Muslim understanding of martyrdom which is out right barbaric, inhumane and corrupt, Christian martyrdom is not killing others for a cause, rather its being killed for a cause. The reward for the Muslim – is 70 virgins, however for the Christian it is being counted as a warrior for Christ. Having died for the name of Christ, Christ himself offers them as fragrance to the Father where they are blessed, not with physical pleasure (for how can there be physical pleasure when our bodies remain on Earth becoming nothing but dust) rather they are blessed with spiritual joy and peace that is ineffable, immeasurable and incomprehensible.
Christ says in Matt 10:32 that “whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven”. These martyrs in Iraq right now are being glorified in heaven. Enjoying the rewards of their labour, praying for us all and shouting with the martyrs under the altar mentioned by St John The Beloved saying “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth, Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed” (Revelation 6:9-11).
For the true Christian, Death is gain (Philippians 1:21), it is never loss, it is the most joyful day for us.
For this very reason neither, fear, torture, violence, rape, murder in fact anything humanly possibly can turn our attention off the goal, we run in the race of life (1 Corinthians 9:24), to receive the ultimate prize. Our aim is to say with St Paul at the end of our lives, that we have fought the good fight, finished the race and have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
Our Muslim brothers need to understand that suffering for the Christian is partaking in the passion of Christ. We become imitators of Christ, when we are sworn at, spat at, scourged, speared, insulted and so on. When these jihadists persecute us as Copts they do themselves no favours, for it only makes us stronger and more stubborn in our Faith, it gives us the thrill and pleasure of suffering for Christ. They need to understand that we are not afraid of those who kill the body, we are fearful of Him, who is able to destroy both spirit and body in hell (Matt 10:28).
For it is not us that fight it is the ALMIGHTY HIM that will fight for us.
Let us pray for the darkness in their eyes to be lifted in order to see the Love that is in Christ Jesus